Warning: This story contains plot details from Tuesday’s episode of This Is Us, titled “That’ll Be the Day.”
If only that smoke detector had batteries…
This Is Us fired up the how-Jack-dies mystery again on Tuesday night with another huge hint about the manner in which the Pearson patriarch will leave this earth. While we saw Rebecca (Mandy Moore) grieving loudly in front of the family’s burned-down house in the season 2 premiere, and a lingering shot of the smoke detector lacking a power source in last week’s episode, this installment of the NBC family drama concluded with the most dangerous cliffhanger yet. (It was made all the more heartbreaking by coming after Jack and Rebecca deciding to go into business together and open a construction company, which they romantically celebrated upstairs, away from the home-office-to-be.) After Jack cleaned up the kitchen from the party that never quite happened and turned off the slow-cooker in the kitchen that you’ve got to fiddle with a bit — (neighbor George, what you have done???) — the Crock-Pot caught fire. As viewers heard The Cinematic Orchestra’s “To Build a Home” and watched a montage of Pearson memories made in this house over the years, flames spread rapidly through the kitchen and beyond, headed up the stairs, where everyone but Kevin was tucked away. Clearly, the end is night for Jack.
The episode took place on Super Bowl Sunday, with the Pearson parents trying to corral the Big Three into celebrating the big game together before the kids headed off to college and life threw whatever curveballs may come. (Apologies for the mixed sports metaphor.) Based on the information that we now know, this is the day that Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) dies. Many of the pieces needed for us to arrive at death’s doorstep have now snapped into place: Kevin (Logan Shroyer) got in a fight with Jack and Rebecca and spent the night at Sophie’s house (where he was that night of Jack’s demise, as we saw in the flashback earlier this season), while Rebecca was seen in that Steelers jersey, which she wore that fateful night as she drove by the burned-down Pearson house.
In the present day, Kate (Chrissy Metz) started to adopt a canine from an animal adoption worker (played by Lena Waithe) to put a smile on the face of Toby (Chris Sullivan), but when she became overwhelmed by possibly traumatizing memories of her childhood dog, she fled the scene, only to reverse course again and introduce Audio to Toby. Kevin (Justin Hartley) tried to make amends with those he had hurt during his addiction spiral, including ex-wife Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge), but there was one name that brought tears to his eyes as he stared at this unchecked name: Dad. Meanwhile, Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) gave Randall (Sterling K. Brown) some much-needed advice after they demonstrated differing styles over how to rehab William’s building: “Slow your roll.”
You’ll have to slow yours, as This Is Us won’t air next Tuesday. But fear not, the show returns five days after that with an episode that airs after the Super Bowl on Feb. 4 — and the promo for it that ran after Tuesday’s episode promised that it will answer all of your questions.
To read what Milo Ventimiglia had to say about Jack’s upcoming death — he calls it an “absolutely soul-crushing event” — click here.